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Plants have their own language, which they use to draw attention to false conditions. They let their leaves droop or show discolouration. When you spot these signs, correct interpretation is of great importance. This is the only way you can take the appropriate action and save your plant. With a little practice, many hobby gardeners quickly succeed in recognizing the needs of the plants. Prevention of deficiency symptoms is even better.

recognize signs

If the leaves hang limp or turn yellow, you should not immediately reach for the watering can. These phenomena indicate a shortage that is often interpreted as a water deficit. Use your thumb to check if the substrate is damp. If the top layer of soil feels dry to a depth of two centimetres, water thoroughly. When the soil is muddy and moisture swells out under slight pressure, the potted plant has been watered. As long as the plant is not completely limp or the foliage has completely withered, you can save your houseplant.

yellow-brown rhododendron leaves

immediate measures

Drain any accumulated water from the coaster. If the plant has only been lightly watered and still looks healthy, a short draining is sufficient. Take the plant ball out of the pot and place it in a warm place. Make sure the plant is not in direct sunlight. This will prevent additional stress from excessive evaporation. You can squeeze the substrate slightly to speed up the drying process. This measure is only recommended for robust plants. As soon as the substrate has dried well, the ball is placed back in the pot.

  • Fill in gaps with a mixture of sand and potting soil
  • avoid watering
  • Place the pot in a partially shaded place
  • Observe the plant more closely in the near future

tip: Place the root ball in a sieve and hang this in a sufficiently deep bowl. The excess water can run off optimally.

Save heavily overwatered plants

If the substrate is heavily waterlogged, you need to get the potted plant out. Clear the root ball completely of the wet soil. The best way to do this is to gently tap the root ball on a flat surface. Stubborn residue can be removed with a discarded toothbrush. When brushing, dead and rotten roots get caught between the bristles and are thus removed immediately. Targeted pruning measures ensure that the plant is stimulated to grow. At the same time, you prevent diseases and fungi from spreading.

  • Shorten the root ball from all sides
  • Remove dead roots generously
  • cut off dead leaves

tip: You can recognize healthy roots by their light color and firm structure. Rotten roots are mushy and brown.

Transplant properly

Place the plant in a fresh pot that you fill up with dry soil. A mixture of potting soil, sand and compost is suitable as a substrate. If you can't make your own soil, use a commercially available mix. Choose good quality soil for potted plants. There are mixtures that have been enriched with natural fertilizers and contain a corresponding proportion of sand. They ensure an optimal supply of nutrients and offer high permeability, so that no waterlogging arises. After inserting the plant and filling gaps with substrate, press the root ball firmly. Avoid watering as the roots have already become soaked with water.

Yucca palm with a soft trunk

prevent waterlogging

Anyone who has been cultivating houseplants for years will recognize care errors Not hard. Such mistakes can be avoided with a few measures, so that the plants do not let their leaves droop in the first place.

pot choice

Place your plants in sufficiently large pots. Containers that are too narrow do not offer the roots enough space to develop. If the substrate stores water, the roots are automatically wet. The pot should always be a few centimeters larger than the root ball so that the substrate is never fully rooted. The water spreads over a higher volume and the soil acts as a kind of buffer.

  • optimal regulation of water balance in clay pots
  • Buckets should have two to three drainage holes
  • Plastic pots with a false bottom improve water drainage
  • Use large diameter pots
  • the water level rises quickly in narrow cachepots


Cover the bottom of the pot with pebbles or potsherds from old pots. This layer ensures that the water can drain better. A layer of stones in the planter has a similar effect. You don't have to throw away the dripping irrigation water as long as there is enough space between the water level and the substrate. It evaporates over time and thus ensures higher humidity. This will improve the microclimate between the plants on the windowsill.

tip: Pieces of wood are not suitable for drainage as they weather over time and absorb moisture themselves.

Pour right

When cultivating plants in a plastic planter with a planter, you should take out the plastic pot for each watering session. Place it directly in the sink and water the plant vigorously every one to two weeks, depending on water needs, until water runs out of the drainage holes. Leave the pot in the sink for the next half hour to allow the excess water to drain completely. If you put the vessel back in the cachepot, check after a while whether more water has collected in the pot. Excess irrigation water should be poured off promptly.

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